On 30 May, I visited my own personal exhibition in the Russian Museum (Saint Petersburg). Exactly a year ago, in St. Petersburg, my friends Vadim Tsyganov and Joseph Kiblitsky and I conceived the exhibition and settled on the opening date for 28 March 2019. Our calculations were as follows: in the middle of November I was to depart from New Zealand on a rowboat, with 6000 nautical miles of the Southern Ocean ahead of me, which I planned to cover in 120 days. By the beginning of March this year I would have approached Cape Horn, with the exhibition opening day safely set for the end of March. So, that is how it was all decided. This, of course, was very arrogant of me. I can tell you now that it was extremely arrogant of me regarding the Southern Ocean. As you know, I could only depart on 6 December. I had to wait for the right weather for a whole month. Then my passage in the Southern Ocean lasted for 154 days. As a result, the Russian Museum had to extend my exhibition several times, and I am grateful to its management for waiting for my return and for giving me this opportunity to see my paintings within the walls of the Saint Michael’s Castle.
On 30 May, which is a very special date for me (five years ago on this day I arrived to the shores of Australia after crossing the Pacific Ocean on the row-boat ‘Turgoyak”), my wife Irina, my youngest son Nikolai, my brother Pavel Konyukhov and I arrived to the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
The management of the Museum has treated us with an excursion, taking us back-stage to see its legendary collections. I was especially impressed by the collection of works by Nikolai Roerich. Rockwell Kent and Nikolai Roerich were the artists who always inspired me, and in my youth I tried to imitate their art.
Afterwards, we went to the rooms where my works were exhibited and met with journalists and exhibition visitors who were waiting for me. It is, of course, a very emotional experience to see your own works on the walls of the Russian Museum; for any artist it would be the most important event of their creative career – I am sure of that. When you create a painting, you don’t think where it is going to be exhibited, in which collection it will end up. At that moment, it is a creative urge, self-expression, emotion. But when you see your work, all framed and on the walls of the museum where the most famous artists are exhibited, you are very happy to see that your art, your concept and execution were appreciated by both professionals and amateurs, ordinary visitors to the museum.
Apart from my own exhibition, I was happy to see works of other artists and get charged by their creativity. I am returning to Moscow tonight and will start work on my new series of paintings. In addition, the Russian Museum expressed an intention to run another exhibition of my art, they even have a year in mind – 2024. So, I have about five years to create that new series of paintings.
Press-release of the media service of the Russian Museum.
On 30 May, in the Saint Michael’s (Engineers’) Castle there was a press-conference dedicated to the visit of Fedor Konyukhov to the Russian Museum. The legendary adventure traveller and artist told journalists of his travels and secrets of inspiration. He was also admitted to the International Society of Friends of the Russian Museum as an Honorary Member and accepted our invitation to become an Ambassador of the Russian Museum in his travels. After the press-conference, Fedor Konyukhov met with more than 300 visitors to the museum who came to see him at the Saint Michael’s Castle.
The exhibition that is being held in the Russian Museum since 28 March presents Fedor Konyukhov as a professional artist. Two incarnations of Fedor Konyukhov – the traveler and the artist – have always coexisted harmoniously. Fedor is a graduate of the Bobruisk School of Arts where he specialized in engraving, and has been a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR since 1983, he is also a member of Union of Moscow Painters and Sculptors, member of Moscow Art Academy, laureate of the Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Arts. In total, Konyukhov created over 3000 art works and has been a participant of numerous Russian and International exhibitions.
Creative imagery by Konyukhov were shaped in his many expeditions: on the way to the North and South Poles and during his climbs of Mt Everest, Fedor Konyukhov did pencil sketches in extreme conditions with temperatures well below zero degrees C. On board of his yacht, while on his round-the-world passages, he worked on the composition of his future paintings. Then, while in Moscow, processing his travel memories, the artist created lithographs, etchings and paintings.
The very first works of Konyukhov are marked with direct impressions of nature. These may be viewed at the exhibition: lithographs “Storm (Squally Wind)” (1982) and “The Hunter” (1989) and oil painting “By the Taiwanese Coast” (1989 – 2006).
Later on, his art gives out more clearly the inner work of the soul. The artist strives to show the pristine nature of spaces unfolding before his eyes, and at the same time he breathes deep spiritual and emotional meaning into these spaces. In his art, the artist is often drawn to the images born from the extreme situations. These are images of consciousness, imagination, frame of mind. Sometimes, these images are purely symbolic (e.g. “The red seagull”, 2016; “The whale”, 2017; “Khimbas”, 2018).
Often, his art represents certain visions of religious order (“Apostle Peter at the Doors”, “Warrior. Beheading of John the Baptist”, both paintings are of 2017). In his paintings, the spiritual enters into a complex relationship with the body: (“Doubt”, 2012; “Passion”, 2017). Personal human experience behind Konyukhov’s paintings is unique and unparalleled.
Media service of the Russian Museum: